Going out of phase: a tale of protein aggregation in neurodegeneration

RNA to explore early events in protein phase separation and phase transition

Cells can regulate gene expression at post-transcriptional levels by coordinating proteins and RNAs in specialized membraneless organelles that form via liquid-liquid phase separation, a reversible process in which macromolecules exceed their solubility limit and condense into liquid-like droplets. However, certain mutations or chronic conditions can significantly destabilize protein structure and function, which can cause aberrant solid-to-liquid phase transition, rendering the droplets impossible to disperse. The accumulation of these toxic protein-RNA deposits is a hallmark of neurodegeneration.

This webcast will describe changes in the biochemistry and biophysics of proteins and RNAs during phase separation and phase transition, focusing on the case of TDP-43, an essential RNA-binding protein whose aberrant aggregation is associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and will explore the use of short, in silico-designed RNAs –aptamers– to track TDP-43 phase transition in vitro, in cells and in tissue. 

The high specificity of targeting and the ability to bind multiple oligomeric species advocate for the future use of RNA aptamers in the diagnosis of proteinopathic diseases at earlier stages of pathogenesis.

Learn About

The role of phase separation and phase transition in physiology and pathology

How protein-RNA interactions associate with neurodegeneration

How RNA can be used to track and control aberrant protein phase transition

In this webinar, you will learn

Webinar Details

  • Date: December 16th, 2022
  • Time: On Demand
  • Speaker:
Dr. Elsa Zacco Dr. Elsa Zacco

Senior Researcher Marie Skłodowska-Curie Minded Fellow RNA Central Lab, Center for Human Technology Italian Institute of Technology

Dr. Elsa Zacco graduated in Biotechnology in Milan (IT) and obtained her Ph.D. at the Freie Universität Berlin (DE). She was then a Newton International fellow at the King’s College London (UK) and is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Minded fellow at the Italian Institute of Technology (IT).

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